2016 — Ivan Baker
Director, Tinley Park Economic Development
Since 2004, the CUPPA Alumni Association Board of Directors has presented the Jim Marek Alumni Appreciation Award recognizing individuals or groups for their dedication to the fields of urban planning and public administration and their contributions to the development of the college's students and alumni. The recipient of 2016 award is Ivan Baker, director at Tinley Park Economic Development.
Ivan Baker embodies the spirit of the Jim Marek Award through his ongoing partnership to UIC and his dedication to the urban planning and economic development profession.
Ivan is known for utilizing the talent pool of MUPPs at CUPPA for the “enviable” economic development internship in Tinley Park. Students are exposed to economic incentive programs, meetings with developers, existing businesses and prospective businesses, council meetings, and challenging projects with no easy answers. Ivan is a constant source of inspiration and knowledge throughout the process.
In addition to providing internship opportunities, Ivan has also instructed the economic development studio at UIC on the topic of revitalizing business districts. He is committed to furthering education in economic development by being an instruction in the Basic Economic Development Course through the International Economic Development Council. He is a leader in the field having coordinated over $2 billion in manufacturing, commercial and healthcare projects in seven states.
The CUPPA Alumni Association has presented the CUPPA Alumni Appreciation Award recognizing individuals or groups for their dedication to the fields of urban planning and public administration and their contributions to the development of the college's students and alumni. In November 2010, the Board of Directors of the CUPPA-AA voted unanimously to rename the award to the Jim Marek Alumni Appreciation Award honoring the former CUPPA assistant dean for student services, Jim Marek. Marek retired from his post in CUPPA on February 6, 2007 after over twenty-nine years of service to the university, its students and alumni. He unexpectedly died on August 13, 2010.